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boston vs providence

Boston vs. Providence [2024] 🤷 | Where Should You Live?

Last Updated on: 22nd August 2021, 07:47 pm

Are you relocating to the east coast but can’t decide between Boston or Providence? These are both great cities, but they are wildly different! It can be a tough choice to choose between these two great cities. Both of these cities offer many job opportunities, family-friendly parks, and fun things to do with a full event schedule. Though these are some of the biggest cities on the east coast, their size is only one pro of moving there.

When it comes down to whether you should live in Boston or Providence, there’s no better way than a good ol’ pros and cons comparison!

There are so many factors that come into play when choosing where to live. It’s important to look at climate, cost of living, weather, and crime rates in Boston and Providence, and how they compare to one another. Don’t get overwhelmed, we’ve done the work for you! Let’s look at how Boston and Providence stack up against each other.

Pros & Cons of Living in Boston vs. Providence

So you want to relocate, but you can’t decide between Boston or Providence. It’s a tough decision! Both cities have beautiful weather and tons of perks, but which one is right for you? Comparing the benefits and drawbacks of Boston as compared to Providence will definitely help make your decision easier.

Living in Boston Pros

Business is Booming

Boston isn’t just a major city in the US, it’s the 12th largest economy in the world! There are opportunities in almost every industry here, from finance to insurance, to tourism, to higher education, to biotechnology and beyond. Huge companies including Fidelity Investments, Liberty Mutual, and GE are headquartered here.

Higher Education Opportunities Abound

Boston is a major player in higher education, which is a huge part of its economy. Over 350,000 students are drawn to Boston, and the higher education institutions are major employers as well. Harvard, MIT, Tufts, Boston University, Boston College are only some of the internationally renowned schools located in Boston. There are over 100 colleges and universities in the Greater Boston area, not to mention art schools and conservatories.

Endless Recreation

fenway park in boston

You will never be bored living in Boston! Whether you’re looking for outdoor recreation, sports, shopping, food adventures, or art and culture, you’ll have access to it here. Sports fans will love living near Fenway Park, while music lovers will be able to escape to Symphony Hall whenever they please. If you’re the outdoorsy type, you won’t be short on options – Boston’s parks are nationally renowned! In fact, Boston is listed as having the 3rd best park system in the United States! You’ll be able to drink in gorgeous water views along the Charles River Esplanade, unwind at the historic Boston Public Garden, and walk or play all day at Franklin Park.

Living in Boston Cons

Get Ready for Traffic

Getting around by car in Boston can be brutal. Boston is densely populated, and residents often complain about the traffic. The harsh winters mean lots of potholes too, so beware!

Winter Weather

Make sure you’ve got some great winter gear! Boston’s location on the water makes it prone to Nor’easters, which means winters can be brutal. Temperatures can reach lows of 19°F, and snowfall averages 48” annually.

Living in Providence Pros

Big City Amenities

Providence might be a lot smaller than Boston, but it is still packed with big city attractions. Providence is much less populated and densely laid out than other east coast cities. There are beautiful green spaces like Roger Williams Park, cultural opportunities at Providence Performing Arts Center and Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra and Music School, and amazing retail opportunities. Providence residents love having access to the same opportunities without the hustle and bustle of a major metropolis.

Foodie’s Paradise

If you love food, you’ll be right at home in Providence. Whether you’re in the mood for fine dining, exotic menus, or a quick bite at an amazing food truck, you’ll find it easily. Be sure to set up notifications for the food trucks like Rocket Truck – they could pop up anywhere! Providence is also home to a colorfully painted Little Italy, which is lined with amazing bakeries, markets, restaurants, and coffee shops.

A Festival for Everyone

water fire festival providence

If you love attending community events and festivals, you’ll love Providence! Waterfire is Providence’s best-known event, when the city’s rivers come alive all throughout Downtown. Providence is also host to Rhode Island Comic Con, PVD Fest, and Rhode Island Pride festivals. The kids won’t be left out either – check out Providence Children’s Film Festival!

Living in Providence Cons

Lower Earning Power

The average household income in Providence is $37,400, which is significantly lower than the national average of $55,300. With a 9% higher than average cost of living index, Providence living can be expensive.

Slower Pace

If you’re looking for a faster paced lifestyle and exciting nightlife, Providence might not be the place for you. Residents often say the single life in Providence is challenging.

Cost of Living in Boston vs. Providence

When choosing between two cities like Boston and Providence, cost of living is definitely an important factor. Providence and Boston are very different as far as affordability are concerned. Cost of living in both cities is higher than the national average, but Providence is only 9% more expensive, whereas Boston is 46% more expensive. Let’s take a closer look at what that means, using Numbeo’s cost of living comparison as a guide:

  • Rent in Boston is 62.67% higher than Providence
  • Childcare is 71.5% more expensive in Boston than Providence
  • Groceries are 9.25% less expensive in Providence
  • Utilities are almost 5% less expensive in Boston

Median sale price for a home in Providence is $322,000. Real estate prices in Boston are more than twice the prices in Providence, with Boston homes selling for an average of $751,000.

Median household income in Boston is $58,500, whereas in Providence the median household income is $37,400.

Additional Things to Consider Between Boston vs. Providence

Population and Diversity

Boston and Providence have much different populations. If you’re looking for a bigger pond, Boston wins with a population of 658,279. Providence is home to about 178,851 people, making it a much smaller city. Both cities are fairly diverse. Here’s a look at their demographic breakdowns:

Race/Ethnicity Boston Providence
White 45.3% 34.8%
Hispanic 16.3% 38.7%
Black/African American 25.4% 15.9%
Asian: 9.3% 6.5%
Mixed/Other Races 4.1% 3.7%


Crime Rate in Boston vs. Providence

Every city deals with its fair share of crime, and Boston and Providence are no different. Both places have higher crime rates than the national average, but their rates are very different. Surprisingly, considering its size, Boston is considered the safer city of the two. Boston’s crime rate is 6% higher than the national average, whereas Providence has a crime rate that is 41% higher than the national average.

Boston vs. Providence Climate

Boston and Providence are relatively close geographically, so there aren’t going to be drastic differences in weather or climate. Both cities have summer highs around 82.5°F, and winter lows of about 19°F. You’ll have four distinct seasons no matter which city you choose, but you’ll deal with more snow in Boston. Providence receives about 36.2” of snow per year, whereas Boston receives 48.1”.

Boston vs. Providence: Where Are You Moving?

Now that you’ve learned about all the pros and cons of living in Boston and Providence, you’re able to make an informed decision about which city you’ll be happier in. Are you leaning toward the big city life in Boston, or does the slower pace of Providence appeal to you? The decision is up to you, but both areas are wonderful places to live.

Boston to Providence Distance

Whether you opt to move to Boston or Providence, you will still have a relatively easy time visiting the other! Boston is only 51 miles north of Providence, or about an hour drive.

If you’ve chosen Providence for your next home, the best movers in the Providence area are ready to help get you settled. Mass Bay Movers is the highest rated moving company in Boston. Call us today at 978-587-3775 to get the process started!


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